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 GEOL0350, Fall 2015

GEOL 0350: Mathematical Methods of Fluid and Solid Geophysics and Geology

Brown Critical Review Link

Intended for undergraduates concentrating in geological and physical sciences or engineering, especially those interested in the quantitative study of Earth. Problem sets will cover common approaches to quantify the dynamics and chemistry of solids and fluids in nature. Mathematical topics to be introduced include linear algebra, vectors and tensors, differential equations, dynamical systems, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, empirical orthogonal functions, fractals, chaos, and statistics. Applications include waves in the oceans, atmosphere, and solid earth, convective and conductive heat flow, reaction rates, gravitational potential energy, Newton’s laws on a rotating planet, measuring coastlines and ranges, and dating errors in stratigraphy.

You can access the syllabus, class calendar, notes, and reading

Web Resources and Texts

  2. Completed Final (with Answer Key) from 2015.
  3. Completed Final (with Answer Key) from 2014.
  4. Completed Midterm (with Answer Key) from 2015.
  5. Sample Midterm (with Answer Key) from 2014.
  6. Peer reviewing guidelines.
  7. Reading assignment guidelines.
  8. Math Resource Center
  9. Tutoring
  10. Science Center Advising

Main Texts

  1. Boas, Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences

Secondary Online Textbooks

  1. Arfken, Weber, and Harris, Mathematical Methods for Physicists, Seventh Edition: A Comprehensive Guide
  2. Cushman-Roisin and Beckers, Introduction to geophysical fluid dynamics: Physical and Numerical Aspects
  3. Fowler, Mathematical Geosciences
  4. Marshall and Plumb, Atmosphere, ocean, and climate dynamics: an introductory text
  5. Schubert, Turcotte, and Olson, Mantle convection in the earth and planets
  6. Strogatz, Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos : With Applications to Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Engineering
  7. Vallis, Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics : Fundamentals and Large-Scale Circulation
  8. Bear, Dynamics of Fluids in Porous Media
  9. Robert H. Stewart's Introduction to Physical Oceanography
    Web-distributed basic but comprehensive textbook.
  10. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (AR5, WGI), 2013: Physical Science Summary, and Summary for Policymakers


  1. Math Moron Myths
  2. Wolfram Alpha
  3. Mathematics of Planet Earth
  4. Cleon Teunissen's Rotation Physics

Additional Fun Reading


  1. Lamb, 1917: Lamb, On Waves in an Elastic Plate
  2. Love, 1897: Theoretical Mechanics: An Introductory Treatise on the Principles of Dynamics with Applications and Numerous Examples
  3. Taylor, 1920: Tidal Friction in the Irish Sea
  4. Hofstadter, Goedel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
  5. Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
  6. Bowditch, 1880: The American Practical Navigator
  7. Maury, 1860: The Physical Geography of the Sea and Its Meteorology


  1. Dana, Two Years Before the Mast
  2. Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
  3. Homer, The Odyssey
  4. London, The Sea Wolf
  5. Stevenson, Treasure Island

Brown Specific Guidelines

  1. Disability Support Services
  2. Academic & Student Conduct Codes, *Note* Prof. Fox-Kemper regards inappropriate cellphone and laptop use as disruptive behavior.
  3. Academic Code